What Is Bariatric Surgery?

What is Bariatric SurgeryBariatric surgery is a weight loss procedure performed on people who are obese, meaning they have a body mass index of 35 or higher. The procedure is not for everyone. It’s used only in people who have serious health problems because of their weight.

In the past, bariatric surgery was only considered for people who were at least 100 pounds overweight or had a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher — often with life-threatening consequences such as diabetes or heart disease.

Today, doctors may consider bariatric surgery for people with a BMI of 35 to 40 who have diabetes or other severe obesity-related health problems.

Bariatric surgery can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the patient, surgeon, and type of procedure. The laparoscopic band placement takes the least time, while the bypass can take the longest.

The surgery typically takes place in an operating room or hospital setting and is performed under general anesthesia.

Your recovery time at home is likely to be four to six weeks. In the first week or two, you will need help with daily activities. You may be able to return to work sooner, depending on how quickly you heal and how physically demanding your job is.

Bariatric surgery can be an effective and long-lasting treatment for morbid obesity, but it is not without risks.

Major Types of Bariatric Surgery

Gastric Bypass Surgery(Roux-en-Y gastric)
The gastric bypass is a surgical weight-loss procedure that involves creating a small pouch from the stomach and connecting the newly created pouch directly to the small intestine.

How it works
The gastric bypass technique creates a small pouch at the top of your stomach. This new pouch holds about 1 ounce of food and connects to your small intestine. The rest of your stomach stays in place but is no longer connected to your digestive system. Food bypasses this portion and moves directly into your small intestine.

The procedure also reconnects your small intestines so that food bypasses a large portion of it. This allows nutrients and calories to be absorbed lower down in your small intestine rather than higher up where they are more easily absorbed.

The result is rapid weight loss because the amount of food you can eat at one time is greatly reduced after surgery. In addition, because you absorb fewer calories, you lose more weight than with other types of weight-loss surgery.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Gastric sleeve surgery is a type of bariatric procedure that involves removing about 80 percent of the stomach. It reduces the stomach size to a thin tube or “sleeve.” It is a permanent and irreversible operation. Gastric sleeve surgery helps patients lose weight by limiting how much they can eat and by reducing appetite.

How it works
The surgeon will remove approximately 80 percent of your stomach and create a smaller, banana-shaped stomach, which can hold about 1 cup of food. It will be closed with staples or sutures, leaving a smaller stomach tube. This section is then connected to your small intestine so you can absorb nutrients normally. It does not involve any bypass of the intestines.

Gastric sleeve surgery moderates the amount of food you can comfortably eat by creating a smaller stomach, which creates a feeling of fullness after eating only a small amount of food. Gastric sleeve surgery also removes the part of your stomach that produces ghrelin, which is known as the hunger hormone.

What’s right for you?

You can consider bariatric surgery when diet and exercise haven’t worked. Or if you have serious obesity-related health problems like type 2 diabetes or sleep apnea.

If bariatric surgery is something you’d consider, talk with your doctor about the possible risks and benefits. You can also talk about how much weight you expect to lose.

Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

  • Significant weight loss
  • Improvement in obesity-related conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease
  • Improvement in overall quality of life

Risks of Bariatric

  • Risks related to anesthesia, such as breathing problems or allergic reactions
  • Risks for infection, blood clots, or bleeding, which can be serious and may even cause death
  • Damage to other organs from the operation itself
  • Possible long-term nutritional deficiencies that may cause other health problems, later on,
  • Difficulty losing enough weight or regaining some or all of the lost weight over time

Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

Preparing for surgery can be stressful. We want to make sure you are well prepared so you will feel confident, informed, and supported when you come in for your procedure. Make sure to follow all the steps below to get ready for surgery day.

  • Go to All Mandatory Appointments
  • Finish your pre-surgery diet
  • Complete all pre-surgery testing and labs
  • Complete your psych evaluation and attend a support group meeting
  • Review the Bariatric surgery diet guidelines

What To Expect After Bariatric Procedure

Recovery after bariatric surgery depends on the type of procedure and your overall state of health. The amount of time for recovery varies from person to person. Patients need more time to recover from open surgery than from laparoscopic surgery.

What to expect following your surgery.

You’ll probably feel tired when you first wake up and for at least a week after surgery. Your throat may be sore, have trouble swallowing, and your mouth may be dry mouth.

You’ll need to restrict your diet for several weeks following your procedure. You’ll start with liquids only and gradually move on to pureed foods, then soft foods, and finally, regular foods.

You should be ready to spend three to five days in the hospital after gastric bypass surgery or one to two days after gastric sleeve surgery.

After you go home, you’ll need to rest and recover for about two weeks. During this time, avoid heavy lifting or doing anything strenuous. Driving should also be avoided for about a month.

After about six weeks, you can usually return to work if your job doesn’t involve strenuous activity.

You may lose more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms) in the first year after surgery. After that, weight loss typically slows down until 18 to 24 months after surgery — but it will vary based on your activity level, metabolism, and other factors.


If you need bariatric surgery, be sure to follow your doctor’s advice and directions, and to consider the implications for both your health and life after surgery. This surgery is an extreme measure that should only be taken in extreme circumstances. As you weigh your decision, keep in mind that there are many other solutions that may better suit your needs.

For more information, please contact Dr. Leggett & Dr. Lee today!

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